“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.”
Eminem, the famous American rapper might have unraveled the hidden truth about life but we, the common people despite of knowing this fact, unabashedly ignore it, take it for granted and multiple number of times throw it back in the face assuming that Life will give us a second chance. Only sometimes, it doesn’t.
Like an intrepid soldier we gear up with the artillery and shield ourselves with armor and fight our life’s battles. But when it comes to the road, why do we fail to take our life seriously and relentlessly ride like a wild animal let loose?
In Udaipur, the unsettling argument of making helmets compulsory or not still surprises me. I mean, which counter argument comes into the picture so strong that the immediate law of wearing helmets by two-wheelers completely diffuses?
If we go down the lanes of history, the use of helmets go back to as long as 900 BC where they were made of thick leather and bronze; worn by soldiers to save their heads from sharp objects, swords and spears. The concept took momentum in the following years and by the 18th and 19th century, helmets were widely used in the world, especially after WW-I.
Today, you will find sportsmen, miners, martial artists, soldiers, even cyclists, wearing helmets. The reason is obvious. To protect the most important part of our body- the head and what holds inside- the brain; our thinking tank, the knowledge machine!
So, the question arises as to why we find it a cumbersome task to sport a helmet while we are on the road, riding?
The arguments for NOT wearing helmets are many:
- The hair/style gets spoiled. Who wants to face a bad hair day, every day?
- It is bulky and feels like a burden on the head.
- As it covers the entire head protruding from both the sides, it objects the side view.
- It is sweaty under a helmet. Summer is the worse time to don one.
- A vehicle doesn’t have a particular hook to hold it and a rider has to carry it wherever he goes. Also, there is a chance of it getting stolen if kept on the vehicle.
Few aforementioned points may be valid in some extreme cases but others are downright silly and hold no strong objective that can negate the use of wearing helmets while riding.
The following three points are stated here in retaliation for the arguments above:
- The number of deaths in road accidents in Udaipur in 2014 till November was reported to be 1,297 which include two-wheeler crashes.
- The percentage of survival in an accident of helmet wearers ranges from 63% to 85%.
- Your hair may set after a while and can be styled within minutes. What about your head, if God forbid you meet with an accident and hit it hard? How much time will it take to normalize it, if at all, there is a chance?
While the newspapers and other channels are discussing about the compulsion of helmets in the city, I see people being lured by chocolates for wearing helmets or riders without helmets taking a U-turn after seeing the cops at the next stop, people avoiding the main roads and taking constricted streets and doing all these with quite a victorious smile.
Think deep, if you may about your own self, what exactly you are doing. To save a minimal amount of Rs. 500 (the nominal cost of a standard helmet) you end up giving access to the other drivers on the road to play with your life. The control of you surviving an accident holds in other’s hands. Apparently, your helmet is safely adorning the shelf in the house or in the shop which you had adamantly ignored to enter as it all seemed a worthless affair to you.
Not to question the personal opinion of many but on one pan we are keeping our dead cells (hair) and on the other pan live cells (head/brain). Take a balance and see which side will gravitate more towards logic and safety. After all life, as stated above, is not GUARANTEED!
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